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Showing posts from March, 2007

Spare a few pesos...

How tough was life for Gabriel Garcia Marquez when he finished writing One Hundred Years of Solitude ? As we find out in The Guardian , quite tough: When his masterwork was finished in August 1967 and he and his wife went to the post office to send it to his editor in Buenos Aires they had only 53 pesos. It cost 82 pesos to send the parcel so they sent half of the manuscript. "Afterwards we realized that we had sent not the first but the second part," he said. Luckily, the editor "was so eager to read the first half that he forwarded us the money so we could send the rest." How very lucky indeed.

Here There Be Dragons.

Looks like more adventures are coming out of Middle Earth, written by none other than JRR Tolkien himself! From the grave... oooooooh~ In actuality, Children of Hurin , is edited and and painstakingly arranged by Christopher Tolkien (son of JRR) and is slated for an April release, just in time for my birthday. Hurray! I just hope it's not the snoozefest The Silmarillion was. From the Tolkien Library : Túrin is born into a Middle-earth crushed by the recent victory of the Dark Lord, Morgoth, and his monstrous army. The greatest warriors among Elves and Men have perished and Túrin’s father, Húrin, has been captured. For his defiance, Húrin’s entire family is cursed by Morgoth to be brought down into darkness and despair. But, like his father, Túrin refuses to be cowed by Morgoth and as he grows so does the legend of the deadly hero. In a land overrun with marauding Orcs, Túrin gathers to him a band of outlaws and gradually they begin to turn the tide in the war for supremacy of Mi

The People Behind My Namecard.

For those who have received my new namecard, and are wondering who the illustrator and designer is, well, wonder no more! The illustrator is Ashrel, a brilliant pixel artist for a local mobile games developer. You can view his stuff online at ashrel.deviantart.com . I commissioned one logo from him and got back two - one based on my idea and one he came up with himself. I loved both and ended up using his idea for the logo on my namecard. My idea is the one I'm using on this blog right now. For the card design, I called in a favour from the awesome and sexy Mark Lai. If you've seen the posters and buntings from e-Games , then you've seen his work. I think he did a nice job putting together the elements on the card, and I especially like what he did on the reverse side. Thanks, guys!

From the pages of Mata Harian.

I translated this from yesterday's copy of my favourite Malay national daily, Mata Harian : "I Could Have Done Better" by Ahmad Darwin GUNUNG RAPAT: Although there is no "top" SPM candidate according to the Education Ministry, Che Dik Sufian can count herself in the higher rankings of straight-A students, scoring 30 1As. However, this student from SMK Gunung Rapat is unhappy with her results, saying that she could have done better. "I was aiming for 34 1As," Che Dik said, sobbing into her results slip. "After Che Amalina Bakri scored 17 1As, I knew I had to get double her results." She scored 2 2As for Blogging and Texting, and 2 3Bs for Youtubing and Modern Mathematics. Her parents have tried to console her but to no avail. Che Dik plans to appeal to the Ministry for better results. Asked to why she so desperately wanted to have 34 1As, Che Dik replied that it was her duty to her teachers, school and country. Now that she had failed t

All God's Children Can Dance.

"All God's Children Can Dance" is a short story from Haruki Murakami's after the quake . I've already read the book, but for some reason I can't remember what the story was about. Now, via Five Branch Tree , I find out that director Robert Logevall has gone and made a movie out of it . Hurray! Bet that'll refresh my memory.

REVIEW: Mukhsin.

The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere, they're in each other all along. - Jalaluddin Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) Yasmin Ahmad is probably the only auteur we have who actually has the guts to go against the grain of Malaysian movie-making and yet still be able release a movie successfully on our shores and overseas. With other excellent Malaysian directors being given the middle finger when it comes to releasing their features on local screens, it's a ray of sunlight in our dark, hazy skies to see a movie of pedigree like Mukhsin get released in Malaysian theatres. I'm relieved Yasmin Ahmad decided to forego the dense intellectualism of Gubra , which I found more of an essay-as-film, rather than a proper story. Nice, but a little too high-brow for my tastes. Call me a philistine but I think I preferred Sepet's simpler love-story. Mukhsin is just that. It's

Happy Birthday!

On this day last year I quit my old blog , and started this new one which I had planned to focus on reading books and the art of writing. (Of course, it would take me another 2 months to actually start blogging proper.) I think I've come quite a long way within the past year. Got to know some nice people (as well as nasty ones, but that comes with the territory I guess). Got some stories and reviews published. Yep, it's been a good year. Thanks to everyone who's visited, commented, linked, petted the cow, and licked the incredible amount of fonts on this blog. Here's to more good years of blogging.

REVIEW: Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami.

UPDATE: My Wind/Pinball review can be found here .  ISBN: 477002214X Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd., (1987) Paperback: 165 pages Late last year, after finishing Haruki Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman ( read my StarTwo review ), I went on a quest to complete my Haruki Murakami collection. I felt like I simply had to have every one of his books published in English to truly get into this author. I was lucky that Borders was having their 3 for 2 promotion for all the British covers of Murakami, so I managed to get them all, except for his two first novels: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 . Though these novels have had their English translations published in Japan, Murakami doesn't want the English-speaking world reading them, because he thinks they're terrible. Thanks to eBay, and an enterprising fellow in Japan who's stocked up on English copies of Hear the Wind Sing , I managed to get my hands on a copy. And at 6" x 4", suc

Italian Online Litmag Calls for Submissions!

Yang-May, who I was fortunate to have met two Saturdays ago, has posted up a call for submissions from the Italian online literary magazine, Buran : The aim is to show what we call “Invisible Writing”: stories that we usually are not able to read because of the language (chinese, arab and so on) or because they are fading away into the great ocean of the web. We are collecting stories from all over the world. You won't get paid, but how cool would it be to see your writing translated into Italian? (Answer: very .) The length requirement is a little weird though - between 5000 to 10000 characters? That's probably flash fiction length. 1000 words perhaps? Next issue's theme is "The City" (a personal favourite), but they'd probably take on any other subject matter. Deadline's on March 19. Give Flaviano an email at flaviano.fillo@libero.it or at redazione@buran.it Get cracking!